Adapt | Definition of Adapt by Merriam-Webster


\ ə-ˈdapt How to pronounce adapt (audio) , a- \
adapted; adapting; adapts

Definition of adapt

transitive verb

: to make fit (as for a new use) often by modification adapt the curriculum to students' needs

intransitive verb

: to become adapted adapt to a new environment

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Choose the Right Synonym for adapt

adapt, adjust, accommodate, conform, reconcile mean to bring one thing into correspondence with another. adapt implies a modification according to changing circumstances. adapted themselves to the warmer climate adjust suggests bringing into a close and exact correspondence or harmony such as exists between parts of a mechanism. adjusted the budget to allow for inflation accommodate may suggest yielding or compromising to effect a correspondence. businesses accommodating themselves to the new political reality conform applies to bringing into accordance with a pattern, example, or principle. refused to conform to society's values reconcile implies the demonstration of the underlying compatibility of things that seem to be incompatible. tried to reconcile what he said with what I knew

Did You Know?

Rooted in the origins of "adapt" is the idea of becoming specifically "fit" for something. English speakers adapted "adapt" in the 15th century from the French adapter, which itself traces to the Latin forms aptare, meaning "to fit," and aptus, meaning "fit" or "apt." Other descendants of "aptus" in English include "aptitude," "inept," and of course "apt" itself, as well as "unapt" and "inapt."

Examples of adapt in a Sentence

When children go to a different school, it usually takes them a while to adapt. She has adapted herself to college life quite easily. The camera has been adapted for underwater use. The clock was adapted to run on batteries. The movie was adapted from the book of the same title. adapting the movie for television
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Recent Examples on the Web In fact, Hare contributed to a new paper released this year on how rapidly coyote populations adapt to humans in urban and suburban settings. Daniel Dorsa, Smithsonian Magazine, "The New Science of Our Ancient Bond With Dogs," 17 Nov. 2020 Another sign Dolphins head coach Brian Flores understands how to adapt his defense to the opponent is Monday’s endorsement from Keenan Allen, who tends to shoot straight in media interviews. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Drew Brees may be down — but count Saints QB out at your peril," 16 Nov. 2020 Misinformation researchers praised Twitter for its transparency but said more data was needed to determine how content moderation should adapt in future elections. Kate Conger, New York Times, "Twitter says it labeled 0.2% of all election-related tweets as disputed.," 12 Nov. 2020 Tuesday’s announcement by Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault comes as Trudeau weighs how to adapt laws to a media market that has largely moved online. Kait Bolongaro,, "Trudeau Moves to Force Netflix, Disney to Promote Canadian Shows," 3 Nov. 2020 Bellono specializes in researching how animals adapt their sensory systems to survive in particular environments. Sara Harrison, Wired, "How Octopuses Use Their Suction Cups to Taste Through Touch," 29 Oct. 2020 Bellono, whose lab is broadly interested in researching how organisms adapt to their environment, explained that the research built on the team's recent work into the basic physiology of sea creatures. Ryan Prior, CNN, "How octopuses taste their meals by touching them, according to a new study," 29 Oct. 2020 Ethan Elkind, director of the climate program at the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment at UC Berkeley, says local races have huge long-term implications on land use and how communities adapt to a changing climate. Taylor Kate Brown,, "MicroClimates: How do you vote on climate in local elections?," 20 Oct. 2020 Ultimately, the Board of Regents and University leadership, along with the legislature and governor, must work together to decide how the University will adapt to these challenges. Anchorage Daily News, "Candidate Q&A: Alaska House District 25 — Mel Gillis," 3 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adapt.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of adapt

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for adapt

Middle English adapted (as translation of Latin adaptātus), borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French adapter, borrowed from Latin adaptāre, from ad- ad- + aptāre "to put into position, bring to bear, make ready," verbal derivative of aptus "fastened, prepared, suitable" — more at apt entry 1

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Time Traveler for adapt

Time Traveler

The first known use of adapt was in the 15th century

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Statistics for adapt

Last Updated

25 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Adapt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for adapt


How to pronounce adapt (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of adapt

: to change your behavior so that it is easier to live in a particular place or situation
: to change (something) so that it functions better or is better suited for a purpose
: to change (a movie, book, play, etc.) so that it can be presented in another form


\ ə-ˈdapt How to pronounce adapt (audio) \
adapted; adapting

Kids Definition of adapt

1 : to change behavior so that it is easier to function in a particular place or situation He easily adapted to high school.
2 : to make or become suitable or able to function The camera was adapted for underwater use.
\ ə-ˈdapt How to pronounce adapt (audio) \

Medical Definition of adapt

: to make fit (as for a specific or new use or situation) often by modification adapted himself to the new position

intransitive verb

: to become adapted : undergo adaptation

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